Through the Ed Lab, RFA is helping state and local leaders implement the ground-breaking evidence provisions in the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which was enacted in December 2015. ESSA could help shift more than $2 billion annually in federal education funds towards evidence-based, results-driven solutions in each of the next four years (FY17-FY20).

ESSA gives states, school districts, and schools more opportunities to design their own educational systems. At the same time, ESSA also requires, allows, and encourages the use of evidence-based approaches that can help improve student outcomes. Our Ed Lab helps education leaders build and use evidence to improve student outcomes in the following ways:

Invest in What Works State Education Fellows Program

Results for America’s Invest in What Works State Education Fellows program, founded in December 2017, brings together senior program and evaluation leaders from state education agencies into a single network focused on accelerating the generation and use of evidence. By supporting these innovative leaders who oversee states’ key education programs and evaluation efforts, Results for America is creating new champions in investing in what works and helping make evidence-based policymaking the new normal in education.

In January 2023, Results for America welcomed 11 states to the third cohort of the State Education Fellowship. These states join a growing coalition of education leaders who are committed to building and using evidence and data to improve education outcomes and advance economic mobility and racial equity.

Targeted States

Results for America is also supporting state education leaders in targeted states to incent and drive school districts and schools to build and use evidence to improve their lowest-performing schools. RFA’s Evidence in Education Lab is helping state leaders use their new authority, flexibility, and resources under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to increase the amount and quality of evidence created and used by their school districts and schools and drive better outcomes for millions of students across the country.

In May 2018, Results for America partnered with Chiefs for Change to release a report on how states can (and how many states already are) seizing the opportunities within ESSA to build evidence about what works to help students succeed.

All 50 States

As part of the Ed Lab, RFA conducted in-person and online briefings and developed numerous written materials designed to help all states and school districts use ESSA’s evidence provisions to help them solve their biggest challenges.

See our suite of resources that outline the potential and promise of ESSA’s evidence provisions to help state and local leaders improve K-12 education.

Tools & Resources

As part of the Ed Lab, RFA has developed a suite of online resources that outline the potential and promise of ESSA’s evidence provisions to help state and local leaders improve K-12 education.

Education Policy Reports

Redefining Evidence in Education: A Comparison of Results for America’s New Evidence Definitions & the Every Student Succeeds Act




<a href=Evidence-Building Opportunities Under ESSA: How States Can and Should Generate Evidence to Drive Better Outcomes for Students




screen-shot-2018-04-04-at-1-28-00-pmESSA Leverage Points: 50-State Report on Promising Practices for Using Evidence to Improve Student Outcomes





screen-shot-2018-04-04-at-1-27-35-pmESSA Leverage Points: 64 Promising Practices from States for Using Evidence to Improve Student Outcomes





screen-shot-2018-04-04-at-1-28-14-pmLeverage Points: Thirteen Opportunities for State Education Agencies to Use Their ESSA State Evidence Plans to Build and Use Evidence to Improve Student Outcomes




Resources for States & School Districts

RFA has developed the following materials to help states and school districts better understand and successfully implement the ESSA evidence provisions:

  • ESSA Evidence Fact Sheet: A brief 2-page description of the evidence provisions in ESSA.
  • Evidence in ESSA Explainer: A brief visual graphic of the evidence provisions.
  • ESSA Evidence Power Point: Everything you need to know about ESSA’s evidence provisions, including: a description of the opportunities in ESSA, a description of the evidence provisions, actions states and districts can take, and a review of school improvement requirements, all in an easy-to-read PowerPoint deck.
  • ESSA Evidence Provisions: An exhaustive list of every evidence provision in ESSA, including the section in the law where it occurs.
  • Webinar with AASA: “Leveraging ESSA’s Evidence Provisions to Help Every Student Succeed.” This webinar is designed for superintendents and school leaders to help them carry out the ESSA evidence provisions.
  • Meet the State Education Fellows: More information on the senior program and evaluation leaders participating in RFA’s State Education Fellows program.

Invest in What Works Federal Policy Recommendations

Results for America and members of the Invest in What Works coalition have developed the following federal policy recommendations to ensure the most effective and efficient implementation of the ESSA evidence provisions: